Friday, October 5, 2012
You Know Your Story Better Than You Think You Do
Not sure where your story is going next? Feeling a little lost? Too many arrows pointing in too many directions? Want a magic fairy or muse to come down and gift you with inspiration?
Well, I have a secret for you. But you have to come close to hear it. Okay?
No, closer... shh....
This is it:
You know your story better than you think you do.
Don't know where to go next? Sure you do. Maybe you just don't know that you do. Maybe you don't trust where you've gone and where you're headed. Maybe going forward means going back and deleting the last chapter and a half, because you've gone astray. Maybe you even have to start all over again from scratch.
But you know your story. Somewhere in that lovely creative head of yours, you have all the answers you need to. You just need to suss them out. You can do this by talking the problem out with a friend, taking a walk, taking a bath, or rereading what you already have, but you DO know where you need to go next.
How do I know? Because every time I've hit a wall, I've spent days, hours, weeks sometimes (yes, really!) wishing and hoping that someone would give me the answer to what I needed to fix, but when I finally did figure it out, it wasn't from a magic story fairy. Instead, I figured out that I had the key in front of me the whole time. One element of my story that I could use, but hadn't thought to. And right there was my answer. I had invented it before I even knew I needed it.
So next time you hit a wall, just repeat this to yourself: I know my story better than I think I do.
All the elements are probably already there in front of you. Or if they're not, figure out why! But don't panic or cry for muses... they're fickle things and you could be waiting a long time for help.
Do you have a time when your story problem miraculously worked itself out in your head? Let me know in the comments.
graduated with a Literature degree from the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. She has worked as a freelance writer and as an editor for Drollerie Press, and she is the co-founder of Type Set, Inc, an editing and formatting service. She’s currently working on a YA fantasy novel, but in the meantime she publishes a new short story for free every other Friday at Tales From the Hollow Tree, a fiction blog she shares with author Isabelle Santiago.